7 May 2020 18:20

Italian defense minister thanks Shoigu for assistance in fighting coronavirus

MOSCOW. May 7 (Interfax) - Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini in a phone conversation with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has thanked Russia for assistance in countering coronavirus, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

As reported earlier, the withdrawal of Russian military specialists who have been assisting Italy with fighting coronavirus since March is to begin on May 7.

"During the conversation, Lorenzo Guerini sincerely thanked Sergei Shoigu for the urgent and timely sending of a combined unit of military specialists by the Russian Defense Ministry in order to provide assistance in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus infection," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement received by Interfax on Thursday.

"The Italian defense minister thanked Sergei Shoigu for the information the latter provided about sanitary and epidemiological measures in the Russian army and said he stands ready, if necessary, to provide medical aid to Russia to combat the pandemic," the statement said.

Shoigu and Guerini have had the phone conversation at the Italian defense minister's initiative, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"The Italian defense minister emphasized highest professionalism, selflessness and responsibility of all Russian military specialists of radiation, chemical, and biological protection, as well as military medics who provided assistance to the Italian side," the statement said.

Shoigu briefed Guerini on those measures, which the Russian Defense Ministry is undertaking to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Russian Armed Forces.

"At the end of the phone call, the Russian and Italian defense ministers agreed to continue dialogue on the issues of mutual interest," the Defense Ministry said.